Wednesday, November 29, 2017

'Moretti ± Griffintown'

'To live a life of luxury is to experience it by savoring and making luxurious the
moments, big or small.' ~ © Frank Borsellino™

'History 101' tells the story of how the wood-fired oven and pizzas together have
been discovered since the ancient Roman civilization. Specifically, in ancient Pompeii
(Naples) the brick ovens were built in different shapes but known under the half
circle one. Traditionally, kitchens pizzerias included granite counters, salad bars
featuring both, hot and cold foods as well as drinks to accompany the pizza. This
will supposedly make you feel like being under the sun. Medieval brick ovens can
be found throughout Europe, often with little variation from the original Roman
round, domed oven chamber and front vent design.

'The measure of a great restaurant is the consistency of its dishes.' ~ © Frank Borsellino™

Last weekend, being my fourth visit, I have decided that this time I shall weigh in
on the culinary ecstasy that is 'Moretti ± Griffintown', and give you my observations.
As a sociology aficionado, passionate about culture, as well as a foodie, I could not
restrain myself from researching about that wood-fired brick oven, which is the first
thing you see once you step inside. All the cooks are concentrated in what they do.
Moreover, they seem to be very meticulous. I was able to enjoy every little taste that
I was slowly discovering while eating. The food was outstanding and splendorous,
and so we should give thanks to Alessio Gioffre, Chef de Cuisine. Every time I have
been it is always the same as the previous time.

You really feel welcomed as well as taking one step to Italy, but for anyone who
knows Gianni Caruso (one of the proprietors) will attest that is part of his DNA.
The décor includes these enormous windows with an industrial style that reminds
you of being on a terrace in Italy. I could imagine the Italian music in my ears while
eating a fresh pizza from the wood-fired brick oven. It was filled to the rafters, like
it is every time I have visited. Every table full, including a very nice private room that
sits in the back. It is convenient for birthdays or exclusive event.

'If you go back to the Greeks and Romans, they talk about all three - wine, food,
and art - as a way of enhancing life.' ~ Robert Mondavi

Accompanying the wine was a truly accomplished server in Nicolas who suggested
the 'Joel Gott 815' (2015) with rich vanilla aromas, framed by red fruit notes of plum;
strawberry and cherry filled the nose with this California Cabernet Sauvignon. Luscious
flavors on the palate gave way to hints of toffee on the long, textured finish. There
was a tremendous flow of this most divine elixir of the Gods.

Let us begin with our pizzas, after all that is their raison d'être. 'Frank's Pizza' (Gianni
likes ribbing me), the 'Pizza Siciliana', according to my Hebrew friend who is well-travelled,
declared it the best he ever had outside of Italy. It was just like a scavenger hunt by noticing
small treasures with each bite taken. With pomodoro San Marzano, fior di latte, roasted
eggplant, ricotta salata and fresh basil... and 'La Capricciosa' with pomodoro San Marzano,
fior di latte marinated artichokes, prosciutto cotto (cooked ham) and seasonal mushrooms.
The dough was tender, well-cooked and melted in your mouth. And the dishes kept coming
like an avalanche in the hills of Mount Kilimanjaro. The fried calamari with shrimps and
white fish in a lemon-black pepper aioli with a splash of tomato marmalade were all crispy,
well-battered and with just the right mix of seasonings.
Then it was followed by Mozzarella di Bufala with Heirloom tomatoes and Ligurian olives,
figs, Planeta olive oil and some leaves of fresh basil. Grilled lamb chops with chickpea
salad, tomato-black olive salsa and a couple of sautéed shrimps. The 'Parmigiana di
Melanzane' with broccoli, tomatoes, Kalamata olives and mozzarella in a Pesto Sauce. That
was a very unique dish… just the right zing of zest. A new take on a tradition with the
'Arancini Siciliani' which is a Saffron fried rice ball, fior di latte, green peas, Bolognese ragu
and a lightly spiced tomato sauce... that went quickly.
Finally, as the 'pièce de résistance' slivers of grilled rib eye (14oz), fingerling potatoes,
sautéed kale and fried peppers covered in a pink peppercorn sauce. Not over-cooked, but
just the right 'cuisson' so the juices flowed. This night's dinner theme could have been
'Flowing'. Everything that we savoured flowed like an avalanche (you know the rest)...
and it was accompanied by sautéed shrimps. I died and went to Heaven.

'Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty
and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly
used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'Wow! What a Ride!' ~ Hunter S. Thompson

© From Where I Sit™
November 24, 2017

* 'Moretti ± Griffintown'
1059 Wellington St,
Montreal, H3C 1V6
(514) 954-0000

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Movie Review - 'Michael Clayton' (2007)

'A good act does not wash out the bad, nor a bad act the good. Each should have
its own reward.' ~ George R.R. Martin

Michael Clayton is the name that belongs to a character played by George Clooney,
a man who is so handsome it's almost boring and then he talks and whoa where did
the time go. At his best, Clooney is fun to just watch talk and he does that a lot
in 'Michael Clayton'. But it's not the smarmy, cool, confident talking you've seen
him do in 'Ocean's Eleven'. No, Clooney in 'Michael Clayton' is beleaguered, tired,
and questioning everything he's done. And it is magnetic.

'Michael Clayton' (2007) is a riveting, suspenseful, slick corporate thriller and
was a superb directorial debut for writer, turned director, Tony Gilroy, an attestation
to his skill as a storyteller. Best known for his contributions to the Jason Bourne
trilogy. Twenty years ago, he penned 'The Devil's Advocate', which imagined Satan as
the head of a top law firm. In researching for that film, he stumbled upon an internal
memo, by a large corporation, explaining their decision not to recall a certain car,
because of a fatal, defective part. Their legal counsel and financial advisers concluded
they were better off litigating, if and when, a case would reach the courts, than go
through the expensive process of a recall. From the look of things, Gilroy's opinion
of the legal profession has not improved.
Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is an in-house 'fixer' at one of the largest corporate
law firms in New York. A former criminal prosecutor, Clayton takes care of Kenner, Bach
& Ledeen's dirtiest work at the behest of the firm's co-founder Marty Bach (Sydney
Pollack in his second to last film role). The firm has two big deals going. One is
a merger that would fold them into a bigger operation, reaping rich rewards for Bach.
The other is a huge class-action lawsuit against their biggest client, major conglomerate
U/North (think Monsanto), which after years of skirmishing is about to settle pre-trial.
But then Kenner's point man on the case, Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson 'This Beautiful
Fantastic '2016), as a public meltdown in the middle of a deposition. U/North's own
counsel Karen Crowder (Tilda Swinton 'War Machine '2017) becomes infuriated and lashes
out at their representation. So Bach dispatches Clayton to fix the damage. Edens certainly
seems unbalanced, but he and Clayton are old friends. As hardened as Clayton might be
in his job, there is a certain amount of empathy. Edens may have mental issues, but the
divorced Clayton, father of a young son, has family problems. Add to that, a barely
controlled gambling addiction, and a debt he and his brother owe to some very bad men
over a failed restaurant. When Edens talks about U/North, Clayton listens and realizes
that he is not hearing crazy talk, which leads to his central dilemma: If Clayton does
the rightb thing for once, will he endanger his own position with the firm? And if Edens
is right about this corporate evil, will he risk his life?
Swinton and Pollack offer wonderful supporting turns, but Clooney is terrific, his
world-weary charm perfect for the tarnished Clayton. Early in the movie (though late in
the story, as the film's time-shifting scheme of things) when Clayton, having just cleaned
up a client's mess and driving toward home, at dawn, stops his car and gets out, climbs
up a hill to commune with a trio of horses. At this point in the tale, the behavior does
not track, but it is a testament to Clooney's talent, as an actor, that he is able to sell
the scene. This movie belongs to Wilkinson, who is simply breathtaking. Michael Clayton
may be the movie's hero, but Arthur Edens is its moral center. Wilkinson's sublime
performance elevates 'Michael Clayton' from an above-average thriller into the realm
of greatness.
This is not an action movie in the manner of the Bourne movies, but instead it is quietly
paranoid, a throwback to the '70s style storytelling of something like 'The Parallax View'
(1974). Gilroy does not create white-knuckle suspense so much as a simmering tension that
will surely burn Clayton if it ever comes to a boil. Editor John Gilroy, the director's
brother, deserves a lot of credit for maintaining an unhurried pace that nevertheless
telegraphs the threat that Clayton faces.
'Michael Clayton' is a wonderfully understated thriller. It doesn't have fight scenes or
a dramatic score or the kinetic feel of a Bourne movie. Instead, it's the most mesmerizing
of slow burns, about a man who witnesses a house collapsing around him in slow motion,
and wondering whether or not he should even bother hatching a scheme to get out.
In this reviewer's opinion, this was one of the great films to emerge out of Hollywood,
in a very, very long time. Shame on them for not created more and shame on you if you
don't experience it.

© Frank Borsellino™
© From Where I Sit™
November 15, 2017

* George Clooney & Sydney Pollack 'Michael Clayton' (2007)